A one-of-a-kind flat in one of London’s most iconic buildings has popped up for sale. In the clock tower of a former hotel that adjoins St. Pancras railway station is a two-bedroom apartment that retains many original features. Owned by famously flame-haired British fashion model-turned-actress-and-entrepreneur Lily Cole, the roughly 1,600-square-foot flat is available through Sotheby’s International Realty at about $6.2 million.
The red-brick hotel was designed in an ornate Gothic Revival style by George Gilbert Scott, architect of many other well-known edifices across London, including the Albert Memorial. As St. Pancras railway station was (and still is) one of the main rail terminals in London, where trains going to and coming from Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and other European capitals debarked, the Midland Grand Hotel, as it then was called, was built as a high-end hotel intended to house travelers.
The hotel, which opened in 1873 and closed in 1935, was eventually used for British Rail offices before being redeveloped beginning in 2004. The Grade I-listed building, a designation that deems it of international importance, nowadays houses 67 luxury residential apartments as well as the five-star Marriott Renaissance Hotel. The location in Central London could not be more convenient, with so many parts of the capital in walking distance as well as St. Pancras and the Underground at the doorstep.
With triple-height windows, one of which is festooned with a rainbow painted by Cole, the flat is light, airy and delightfully quirky. Original features, such as a painted Gothic ceiling, are in harmony with reclaimed additions, such as cast-iron fireplaces and stained-glass doors. Stone window mullions highlight the Gothic vibe, as does the oriel in the combination living-dining room that also includes a simple yet funky kitchen that showcases reclaimed wood cabinetry and a multicolored mix of Victorian tiles.
The high ceilings lend almost a jewel-box feeling to the rooms and allow each bedroom to have a mezzanine. The loft in the larger primary bedroom serves are a reading and relaxing space with floating bookshelves and a freestanding copper bathtub.
Cole, who appeared on the cover of British Vogue at the age of 16, is not just a pretty face, but also earned an impressive degree from Cambridge University. Of late, she has been associated with myriad entrepreneurial ventures, including an innovation-focused website, a bookshop, and a self-help book (“Who Cares Wins: How to Protect the Planet You Love”) in which she announced her queer sexuality, along with various environmentally conscious causes. She and her entrepreneur husband Kwame Ferreira have reportedly been living mostly in Portugal, which may have something to do with their reasons for listing the stunning flat.